MY STORY: ‘I didn’t know I was pregnant’

YOU probably have heard stories about wome, who go to hospital with stomach pains and come back with babies.

Maybe you have watched the American reality show, I didn’t know I was pregnant, and often wondered: how can a woman not know she is pregnant?

To most people, especially women, this remains a mystery and makes for a bizarre debate.

Nomagugu, a 36-year-old mother of three in Zululand, opened her home and told her experience on how she found out about her pregnancy a few weeks before giving birth to her son.

She shared her story on how she felt cheated from bonding with her son during the pregnancy.

When Nomagugu started gaining weight just months after getting married to her sweetheart in 2010, she thought her weight gain was caused by marital bliss.

‘I was just married and very happy with my new life. In our African culture gaining weight soon after being married is a complement to the husband – it means he is treating you well and can feed his family,’ said Nomagugu.

‘My body wasn’t going through many changes, except gaining a bit of weight. I felt normal, like a new wife living the life of her dreams, so I didn’t even consider going for a medical checkup.

‘I already had two children by then, so I was aware of how pregnancy feels and its signs.

‘The body undergoes so many changes during pregnancy that it is almost unbelievable not to be aware of it.’

Months later, while having a Sunday dinner with her husband and two children, Nomagugu said she experienced some discomfort in her lower abdomen, thinking it was indigestion.

‘This continued for two days until my husband insisted I went to see the doctor.’

During her doctor’s visit, Nomagugu had the shock of her life when informed she was pregnant.

The news became more unbelievable when she also learned she was due to deliver the baby in less than four weeks.

‘I was already eight months pregnant – I didn’t know whether to be happy or sad. I felt cheated and worried the baby would grow up thinking I didn’t love him. How could I not know?

‘That morning I woke up a wife and a mother of two, but by the evening I had to get ready for a new baby. How can someone get ready to have a baby in a month’s time? How about my career? All these thoughts flooded my brain.

‘I was in shock and felt ill. Everything changed and I was not at all prepared for what was taking place in my life,’ said Nomagugu.

Even though Nomagugu’s pregnancy came as a surprise to her family, she said she soon had to accept it and prepare to be a nursing mother once more.

Her doctor informed her that,even though the situation was somewhat strange, it was not uncommon.

‘This is apparently called cryptic pregnancy and affects more women than we realise.’

Nomagugu’s son is now six years old and she said she can’t wait until she can share the story with her grandchildren one day.


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Wellington Makwakwa

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